At CNN’s Tea Party-indulging debate on Monday, Ron Paul, a medical doctor, faced a pointed line of questioning from Wolf Blitzer regarding the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care.
Should the state pay his bills? Paul responded, “That’s what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—”
He never quite finished that point, letting the audience’s loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that “society should just let him die,” which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd. Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man.
As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul’s former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer’s example, the 49-year-old Snyder (pictured) was relatively young and seemingly healthy* when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder’s surviving mother […], who was incapable of paying. Friends launched a website to solicit donations.
After Snyder’s death, Paul posted a message to the website for his Campaign for Liberty — a pre-Tea Party organization which served Paul as both presidential marketing tool and platform to promote his non-interventionist, free market ideals.
“Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty. Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family.”
And that, friends, is what freedom is really all about.
*The Kansas City Star quoted his sister at the time as saying that a “a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive.”